Thursday, December 8, 2016

'Jackson County Giant' reported in July 1877 Alabama newspaper story

Col. John Snodgrass and wife.
There has been much discussion in recent months of reported Bigfoot sightings in Conecuh County and elsewhere in Southwest Alabama.

Bigfoot reports in our neck of the woods are apparently a relatively new thing, that is, I’ve yet to find any reports of anything remotely like a Bigfoot in all my searches through old newspapers.

However, reports of strange, Bigfoot-like creatures elsewhere in Alabama are nothing new.

A week or so ago, Steve Stacey of Monroeville, a renowned local historian, sent me an interesting item that was reprinted in the Summer 1980 edition of Alabama Life magazine.

In a section called “Footnotes from Alabama History” by A.J. Wright, that magazine contained a very interesting story about a Bigfoot-like creature under the headline “Alabama’s Goliath.”

According to that article, the July 6, 1877 edition of the Huntsville Advocate newspaper reported on what was then called “the most wonderful creature ever seen in Alabama.”

That story went on to say that a Col. John Snodgrass and a Dr. Payne were returning to Scottsboro from a fishing trip near Bellefonte in Jackson County when they discovered a trail of “immense human tracks.” Snodgrass and Payne were amazed by these tracks and went on to describe them to the Rev. R.D. Shook in Scottsboro.

Shook and another man named Caldwell returned to the tracks with a measuring tape and determined that each track was 34 inches long and 14 inches wide. The creature’s stride was also said to have been long enough to cross seven rows of cotton.

“Word of the monster spread quickly,” the article said. “And within a few days a group of 300 men set out to capture the huge man creating such a stir in the area.”

The search party, which included 500 dogs, eventually trapped the creature against a bluff, but he somehow managed to escape.

“The dogs and men took up the chase until the giant wedged himself into a narrow gulch,” the article said. “The members of the expedition promptly tied him up and with a great effort dragged him into an open area.”

The search party then used a measuring tape to determine that the “monster” was 21 feet tall. Its arms were also eight feet long and its fingers were 14 inches long.

“His beard was six feet in length, he possessed a head the size of a flour barrel and his eyes, which opened perpendicularly, were as big as cantaloupes,” the article said.

While the group of captors stood around trying to decide what to do with the creature, the monster “snapped the ropes that bound him as if they were cords; and leaping over the heads of 40 men and three horses, headed for the river. He was last seen crossing at Bellefonte, thus ending the incredible story of the Jackson County giant.”

Stacey went on to tell me that the community of Bellefonte is east of U.S. Highway 72, northeast of Scottsboro.

“It is located on a small bay of Guntersville Lake created when the Tennessee River was dammed,” Stacey said. “The area is sparsely populated and several wildlife management areas are nearby, and it is 20 miles north of Bucks Pocket, a scene of reported creature sightings although not described as this large.”


In the end, it’s hard to say if the creature described above was a Bigfoot, but it sounds like there were definite similarities. As always, if anyone out there in the reading audience has a local Bigfoot sighting to report, please let me know. You can contact me by e-mail at courantsports@earthlink.net or by phone at 578-1492.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the mention, Lee! I enjoyed writing those columns for Alabama Life...some of the first Alabama history stuff I did.

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